In the recent election, the Democratic Party did pretty well in Michigan. President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney, 6,1476,182 votes to 5,8363,044 and Democrats gained 5 seats in the state House of Representatives.
At the same time, organized labor — which some folks find indistinguishable from the Michigan Democratic Party — took a beating on Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment to expand collective bargaining rights, and Proposal 4, another constitutional amendment that would have allowed Service Employees International Union Healthcare to continue extracting union dues from 44,000 home help workers.
The unions did win on Proposal 1, a referendum which repealed the Emergency Financial Manager law, but that may have been because a “yes” vote would have kept the law in force, and voters were saying “no” to all proposals.
Could it be that Michigan is turning against organized labor? If so, why aren't the Democrats losing ground also?
The reason may be that Democrats are on the right side of a lot of issues such as gay marriage, reproductive rights, protecting the environment and helping the poor. Also, they are willing to raise taxes when there is a legitimate need, such as fixing our roads.
Maybe it’s time for the Democrats to get on the right side of the collective bargaining issue.
Collective bargaining provides no social benefit and is a huge drag on the economy.
True, it seems like it should be a good thing: What could be bad about raising workers’ wages?
What’s bad that every penny of those collectively bargained wage increases comes out of someone else’s pocket, and it isn’t the employer’s. Wages above the market rate increase costs, and those increases get passed on to the customer.
Sales go down, resulting in layoffs, unemployment and business failure. Above-market wages of government employees result in higher taxes and/or reduced services.
Unions can’t increase incomes because they don’t increase production.
The social costs of collective bargaining include union dues, estimated at $14 billion a year in the United States; the cost of federal and state agencies that exist specifically to deal with collective bargaining; lost production due to strikes; lost production of union employees on release time; man-hours spent in collective bargaining sessions; and the social damage resulting from unemployment and under-performing schools.
So what would be the consequences of Democrats quitting their role as defenders and servants of organized labor?
They’d lose the money and manpower unions contribute to their campaigns. That’s going to be tough, but it is something that Republicans have managed to live without.
Just by abandoning unions, however, they may gain the support of liberals like me whose only problem with the Democratic Party is its knee-jerk pro-unionism, as well as of some principled independents who are turned off by a party that’s on the payroll of special interests.
They might even win over some Republicans who are embarrassed by the election fixers, gun nuts, creationists, misogynists, homo- and xenophobes, anti-tax purists, vote suppressers and Matty Moroun supporters in their own party.
(Note: The $14 billion a year spent on union dues comes from http://nilrr.org/2012/03/31/unions-rake-in-over-14-9-billion-in-dues-per-year-from-cbas)
marriage, reproduction and more
Prop 2 vote will have bad result
There is transparent strategy in running a biased newspaper. Don’t get known extremists to write articles favoring your viewpoint. Get moderates from the other side. About a month ago, a “liberal” wrote in favor of the Emergency Financial Manager law because Gov. Jennifer Granholm had an emergency manager work with an entity to fix problems. Working with someone is far from nullifying democracy, as our current governor did.
Then, on Nov. 21 “liberal” Steve Harry wrote against unions. His conclusions surprised me because none of them agreed with my observations as a union member.
Now, surprise, surprise, the governor is working on a new way to word the emergency manager law and he’s now open to the “right-to-work” laws.
Having made phone calls on behalf of collective bargaining, I heard one response against unions. The others were against changing the Constitution. The governor should know that misinterpreting this vote could come back and bite him.